A Picture Of You

Portraits1

Not much of a “landscape” theme to this blog this time, but I hope you like it.

A few years ago, when I think I had a reputation for ceaselessly hopping from one project to another, it would have amazed us all if I’d ever taken on anything you would regard as “long term”. Life was just too short!

Well, life is just as short, and there’s no one more surprised than me to find that I’ve now photographed Maidstone Parkrun on more than 60 occasions, and contributed 15,000 photos to the Maidstone Parkrun photo archive. Yes, there’s not a spare zero in that. The total really is more than fifteen thousand.

The origins of my relationship with Parkrun already goes back quite a way. I blogged about it here.  I didn’t need it to last long from a running perspective, but I turned my hand to photographing the event most Saturday mornings. I quickly found that the course and the people made it a very satisfying part of my photographic week. As a photographer, it’s been a chance to experiment and occasionally try out new kit and techniques. You’ll only find the successful ones on display, of course!

There’s huge potential in photographing something like 300 people running on an out-and-back route. For a start, I can shoot all of them twice if I’m so minded. One of my photographic preferences, when I’m not doing landscape work, is for quite tightly cropped shots. Slowly, I realised that I was gathering quite a nice collection of what I started calling “Parkrun Portraits”. Each week I seem to be adding a few to that particular archive. More even than that, I’ve begun to realise that there are parts of the Maidstone Parkrun route where light and background occasionally allow some portraiture in the classic “chiaroscuro” tradition! (I kid myself perhaps, though not a huge amount.)

I mentioned to someone recently that I was thinking about what to do with these photos, and received one of those compliments that hit me right out of the blue. “Ooh yes!” Sarah said. “Some of the ladies have started putting waterproof eyeliner and stuff on, so that they can look their best in your photos!” Bless you all. Fellas – what are you going to do to keep up?

Well, I’ve started taking soundings on where to go next with this stuff, and I’m very open to ideas. Everything I’ve done for Parkrun to date has been for free. There’s exhibition and sales potential in the portraits. These sort of things cost money, especially as, say, quality framed versions. The market for each photo might be quite limited too, I realise. However, it strikes me that in a world obsessed with stars and celebrities, we need to be showing more positive images of ordinary people of all ages, doing sport.

Do feel free to add a comment below if you have a reaction to this, or any ideas. And watch out for more. This is an itch I really do feel I need to scratch.

And yes, I’m easily old enough to recall the 1962 Joe Brown song from which this blog’s title is taken. Here’s a nice 2003 version .

 

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About tomsprints

I am a Masters athlete and freelance photographer living in Kent, in Great Britain. I'm a sprinter. As well as competing, my camera and I work regularly for the British Masters Athletics Federation and the European and World Masters Athletics organisations. For pleasure, I'm (principally) a landscape photographer. I have been blessed with the chance of spending quite a lot of time in the European Alps in the last 30 years. My web site is a vehicle for a my photographic work, and is at http://www.tomphillipsphotos.co.uk I run two blogs. One is about what it's like to be an older athlete ( http://tomsprints.wordpress.com ) and the other is basically about my photography ( https://ablogscape.wordpress.com ), although they often overlap.
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